The Minister of Interior of Austria, Gerhard Karner, has said once again that his government continues to remain against the expansion of the Schengen Area.
Minister Karner said that Austria is not open to making new additions, stressing that they do not agree with Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen yet reports.
During a press conference in Vienna, where present was also the Minister of Interior of Romania, Cătălin Predoiu, Karner said that there are already existing border controls between the member states.
He further stressed that this is a clear sign that the Schengen system is not working, suggesting that the expansion cannot take place at this time.
“Our position is that the Schengen system as a whole does not work, therefore, we are not open to its expansion. There are already border controls between Germany and Austria, Germany wants to establish border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic. It’s a clear signal that the system isn’t working, and I don’t think the expansion is appropriate at this time,” the statement of Minister Karner reads.
In addition, Minister Karner also criticised the Dublin system, saying that it has deficiencies and at the same time asked for improvements.
The opposition of Austria is mainly linked to concerns about irregular migration, with the country saying that they are worried about the increasing number of irregular entries.
In response to what Minister Karner said, Minister Predoiu asserted that Romania has made progress in combating all forms of cross-border crime. Moreover, he said that Romanis is ready to cooperate with the Commission and all the member states on all matters related to border protection.
Minister Predoiu further said that they are working to identify problems and find solutions and, at the same time, emphasised that they want to build trust so that Romania can join Schengen as soon as possible.
“My objective was to turn the page regarding Schengen, to build that trust that would lead us to the shortest path regarding the objectives of Austria and Romania. I did not come here in the paradigm of the minister who asks and another who refuses. This is not the right way of doing things,” Minister Predoiu added.
Considering the recent events, the Bulgarian Member of Parliament, Andrey Novakov, said that both Bulgaria and Romania should lift their border controls if they are not accepted into the Schengen Area by the end of this year.
He further added that the border controls are interfering with the movement of all people, especially truck drivers, who have to wait for a long period of time to undergo border controls.